Do the Changes in Myanmar Signify a Real Transition?

Dr. Udai Bhanu Singh is Senior Research Associate at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • January 2013

    Myanmar is in the midst of a phase of historic transformation, both in the domestic sphere and in its external relations. This time the change that is occurring is substantive, not cosmetic. The direction of the change has been largely established, although the pace could depend on the actual circumstances. Political reform was heralded by a new constitution (2008), a new quasi-civilian government, a new parliament and the release of political prisoners, the freeing of the media, and the by-elections (April 2012), which returned the National League for Democracy (NLD) to the national mainstream. The domestic change has been accompanied by an improvement in Myanmar's external relations, as there has been a growing appreciation of the internal changes among the international community. Even as the international community needs to be supportive of the political and economic changes currently underway in Myanmar, the change, if it is to be durable, needs to come from within and at a gradual pace.